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Supporting Australian innovation

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Last month Electronics News announced the launch of the EDN Innovation Awards (see Electronics News Oct 2004 page 25), and already this unique venture is causing a buzz around the industry. The Awards are brought to you by test & measurement company National Instruments, and organised by EDN - The Design Magazine of the Electronics Industry.

Australia’s leading electronics trade association, Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA) has endorsed the Awards, recognising them as “a good initiative for the national industry”.

The EDN Innovation Awards will culminate in a prestigious dinner event held in conjunction with the EIA’s Technology Futures Conference, in Adelaide on 12 and 13 May 2005. The Technology Futures Conference has established itself as the premier national electronics forum and Electronics News is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of next year’s event, with EDN Australia sponsoring the Awards dinner.

The Awards will be judged by three people with renowned industry experience, who will be independent of AEEMA, EIA, National Instruments and the Award category sponsors. There will also be an overall Award for the best project from the six categories, presented by National Instruments.

But none of this would be possible without the generous support of the Award sponsors, overall sponsor National Instruments, and category sponsors Altium, Agilent Technologies, Braemac, Adilam, Soanar and Arrow.

Consequently, we are pleased to provide an opportunity for the companies behind the Awards to tell our readership a little about themselves, based around a questionnaire we circulated. The questionnaire asked for a brief company profile, brief details of the products and services the company provides, a comment on how the company supports Australian electronics innovation and why it decided to sponsor the Awards; The answers follow below.

The Awards are open for entry now, with nominations closing on 28 February 2005. The entry fee is $150, and this will be put towards the bursary for the institution of the winner in the best student project category. Entry forms are available by e-mailing Kylie Woodward.

Please note that entry forms will be treated in the strictest confidence, and only project summaries approved by finalists (which will NOT include any proprietary or company sensitive information) will be published.

National Instruments - Primary and overall winning project sponsor - has been operating in Oceania for over 12 years with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. NI Field Engineers operate nationally, and seminars and workshops are regularly conducted keeping scientists and engineers abreast of the latest product and technology information. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 41 countries. In 2003, NI sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries, and has been named one of the 100 best companies to work for in America by Fortune magazine for the past 5 years.

"The EDN Innovation Awards will provide much deserved recognition for Australia's most outstanding engineers in electronics design, manufacture and test," says Jeremy Carter, Oceania branch manager of NI. "We feel it essential that outstanding innovation is recognised within the Australian engineering community, and we are delighted to be presenting the award to the overall winner at the 2005 awards."

NI has a history of supporting innovation within the electronics industry, regularly sponsoring industry conferences and events. NI also provide grants, sponsorship programs and discounts for academia, offers certified training in its products and provides a network of certified alliance partners that specialise in the integration of NI software and hardware into systems across the industry.

NI is a technology pioneer in virtual instrumentation - a concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for customers worldwide through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. NI provides their customers with a better solution for measuring and automating the world around them. Their strategy is to innovate, constantly improve, and deliver a steady stream of new products that deliver greater productivity and higher value to customers while increasing business opportunities. In 2004 alone, NI will release over 250 new products into the market. From testing DVD recorders to researching advanced medicines, customers use NI software and hardware to deliver a diverse set of products, faster and at a lower cost.

Altium - Sponsor of the best student project - is a global developer and supplier of electronics design software for the Microsoft Windows environment whose mission is to make electronics design easier for all electronics engineers, designers and developers. Founded in 1985 (in Hobart, Tasmania), Altium released a Microsoft Windows-based PCB design tool in 1991 and continues to provide easy-to-use and affordable software design tools for mainstream engineers worldwide. Altium's products offer tailored solutions covering a range of hardware and software design processes including the Nexar, NanoBoard, Protel, CircuitStudio, CAMtastic, P-CAD and TASKING brands. Altium is headquartered in Sydney and has direct sales and support offices in Australia, the US, Japan and Europe as well as maintaining a network of global resellers. Altium has over 250 employees.

Altium provides integrated design tools for electronics systems design to help engineers deliver smarter and more cost-effective electronics products to market faster. Altium's software products are used by engineers and engineering teams for the design of electronic devices found in many of today's newest electronic and consumer products across a broad range of industries including telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, defence, medicine, science and consumer electronics.

In this age of intense global competition, innovation is vital. Altium strives to push the limits of technology and works hard to create products that support Australian engineers in their efforts to keep pace with new developments and technologies for design. The focus is to create accessible solutions for engineers that cultivate creativity, enhance productivity and are easy to use. To support this philosophy Altium will be presenting a full Nexar 2004 license to the winning institution in the best student project category.

"As an Australian company that has been dedicated from its very beginnings to breaking down the barriers to electronics design innovation ... for every engineer, we are particularly proud to be associated with the EDN Innovation Awards," says Nick Martin, Altium's founder and joint CEO.

Agilent Technologies - Sponsor of the best application of benchtop test instrumentation - is a global, diversified technology company. Formerly the non-computer and printer businesses of Hewlett Packard, it became an independent company in June 2000 as a result of corporate realignment. With more than 60 years of experience, Agilent is on the leading edge of nearly every major trend in digital electronics, optical and wireless comms.

With revenues of US$6.0 billion, Agilent provides solutions for customers in more than 110 countries including t&m, automated test, semiconductor products and life sciences.

In Australia, Agilent employs 170 people, the majority at its Melbourne facility which hosts the global R&D centre for RouterTester product development. This growing platform for gigabit and terabit test simulates the Internet on a scalable and realistic basis. Agilent Australia and RouterTester have been recognised with two AEEMA Excellence Awards in Innovation and Commercialising R&D.

Electronics and comms equipment manufacturers find that Agilent's t&m tools add value at all stages of a product's life cycle - from research and design to high-volume manufacturing to installation and maintenance.

Agilent provides in-country sales and support for its t&m products, which cover the spectrum from DC power supplies to lightwave analysers, oscilloscopes, data acquisition systems, frequency counters, spectrum analysers, RF and microwave sources and network analysers. Local support facilities employ 30 people and provide repair and calibration capabilities, which are NATA, accredited. Calibration processes and procedures are compliant with ISO17025.

Agilent works closely with local universities to provide cooperative employment placements and has received several "Best Employer" awards.

Agilent supports Australian electronics innovation with a broad range of leading edge products like the new DSO80000-series oscilloscopes providing 13 GHz real-time bandwidth, microwave and telecoms OSS and test solutions.

"Agilent Technologies Australia is pleased to help showcase local talent and innovation by sponsoring the best application of test instrumentation award, providing local and international exposure for the successful candidate and application," says Mark Isherwood, marketing manager test & measurement organisation, Agilent Technologies Australia.

Established in Australia in 1986, Braemac - Sponsor of the best application of a microcontroller - is a large Australian-owned electronics component distributor representing more than 20 of the industry's leading component manufacturers. Its flagship product lines, including Altera, Cirrus Logic, Cypress, DDK, Intel, Micrel, Renesas, Samsung, STMicroelectronics , Vishay and more, allow customers to choose from a wide selection of quality, well-recognised name-brand components.

Braemac employs a large number of technically-qualified field application engineers (FAEs). These engineers support customers with their designs and keep them up-to-date on the latest technology and current industry trends. Braemac offers custom-made cable assemblies and an extensive connector product range. In its in-house custom cable loom manufacturing facility, Braemac can support connector/cable requirements.

Braemac was among the first in the industry to attain ISO9002 and has now upgraded the QA system to ISO9001, ensuring its commitment to providing customers with quality products and service.

As well as offices throughout Australia and NZ, Braemac has overseas presence with offices in the US, Japan, UK and Singapore, ensuring a supply network that can support customers who need fast turnaround delivery.

Braemac also offers a range of embedded solutions through its sister company, Braetec. Braetec is a distributor of boards (for example embedded, cPCI and VME) and software solutions to telecom, defence and industrial companies. Board level and software products reduce time-to-market and project risk.

Braetec represents a number of major computer companies including; Acromag, Elma, GE Fanuc Embedded Systems, LynuxWorks (Linux & RTOS), Motorola Computer Group, Litemax, TEWS Technologies and Thales.

"In order to strengthen the position of the Australian electronics industry and to be globally successful we need to support ... the future development of the Australian industry. As a leading component supplier it is crucial to provide support to our best resource and that is our talented design engineers," says Braemac director Danny Nemeny. "We must identify and retain this talent and ensure that mechanisms are in place to support our future."

Adilam Electronics - Sponsor of the best wireless design or application - was formed by Keith Anderson in 1982. With five offices in Australia and two in New Zealand, Adilam is able to support customers across the ANZ territory with a wide range of products and services. Adilam has over 50 staff, supporting customers large and small in a wide range of market segments.

Adilam's partner, "World Piece Group", one of the largest distributors in Asia, brings world competitive pricing to customers. Adilam's ongoing reputation with customers and suppliers brings a partnership to the industry. Adilam is always looking for ways to reduce costs for customers, not just the component cost, but with various logistics programs. Adilam is not just a supplier of electronic and electrical components, service is also part of the product, and the company concerns itself with the customer's expectations and strives to meet their needs.

Adilam Electronics supplies electronic and electrical components by directly representing leading companies in the manufacture of components.

Adilam offers products in the following categories: Semiconductors - Philips, NEC, TDK, SST, BSI, SIPEX and WINBOND; Passives - Vishay, Chemi-con, WIMA, Yageo and Tokin; Connectors - Harting, JST, Methode and Dinkle; Displays - Lite-on, Anshan and Varitronix; Industrial - Ebm Papst, Airpax and SAIA Burgess.

Adilam actively supports innovation in the electronics industry, supporting innovation retains Intellectual Property in the region and provides a strong base for our industry now and for the future.

"Adilam is proud to be part of the EDN Innovation awards. This gives us the chance to celebrate design achievements together as an industry and promote locally and globally our abilities and expertise," says Mark Anderson, VP, Adilam Electronics.

Soanar - Sponsor of best PCB-based power supply design - is a specialist distributor of electronic (semiconductor, passive, interconnect, electromechnical & power) components and embedded solutions.

The name Soanar stems from that of its founder, George Soanes, who launched the company from its Melbourne base in 1963. Organic expansion, with a pan-regional focus over recent years has seen Soanar establish a presence in India, with 5 branch locations, as well as SE Asia, with branches in Singapore, Penang and others planned for the near future. These operations are supported by warehousing and distribution facilities centralised in Sydney, along with warehouses also located in Singapore, Mumbai, Auckland and Christchurch.

Value-add strategies are driven by the needs of Soanar's customers, and supplier partners as it focuses on the OEM, EMS & R&D markets within the automotive, consumer, industrial, infotech, comms, defence, transportation and medical segments across S Asia, Australia and NZ.

Soanar's focus is supported by its sister division, Soanar Plus, an e-commerce business (formerly Polykom), whose services are targeted at smaller business customers and government sectors.

As a specialist distributor, Soanar focusing on a complementary range of products from its supplier partners, coupled with applications engineering and supply chain services.

Soanar's supplier partners include leading names like NEC Electronics, Linear Technology, Infineon, Zilog, Vishay, Nais, Stadium, Littelfuse & ELO.

Soanar's has also rolled out of services like SDS, SES & Soanar Advantage. Soanar Design Services, or SDS, is a recent initiative, via which Soanar partners with customers to accelerate their product & development cycles (or time to market), by providing custom reference designs. SDS provides hardware and software prototype platforms to customer specifications.

Soanar Embedded Solutions, or SES, through partnerships with a specific group of hardware and software suppliers, provides Soanar's customers with integrated modular or single board embedded computer based semi-custom and COTS solutions.

Arrow Electronics - Sponsor of the best analogue design or application - is one of the world's largest distributor of electronics components and a leading provider of solutions and services to the technology sector, with 2003 sales of US$8.67 billion. Arrow Electronics was formed in 1935 with headquarters in Melville, New York, and Arrow Electronics Australia was formed in 1988 and has 8 offices in Australia and NZ, with the Head Office in Melbourne.

Arrow has a line card featuring the industry leading component manufacturers of semiconductors, passive, electro-mech and connector products. Arrow also offers a suite of supply chain solutions and VMI programs that can be tailored to suit customer requirements. Arrow has a local warehouse, access to global inventory and a programming centre in Melbourne. Across our 8 local offices it has one of the industry's largest sales, marketing and design services team to support local customers needs, large and small.

Being one of the largest electronics distributors in the world gives Arrow immediate access to the latest technology and new developments from leading component suppliers. The company's global network and on-line IT systems help make these technologies available to its local customers.

Arrow's local offices across the region allow a focus on each market place and provide both global and local knowledge and technical support. The Melbourne warehouse allows it to support small to large quantities of parts to customers and also samples and development systems to design teams quickly. A key parameter in supporting the many innovative designs done in Australia, is to be able to offer the collective experience and design support of not only our local sales and technical teams, but also our suppliers, and the Arrow global team.

"Arrow Australia is proud to be associated with an award that recognises the efforts of local designers, and acknowledges the broad range of innovative and leading edge analogue designs and applications that Australia continues to develop for both the local and global markets across a multitude of end products," says Gert Labuschagne, VP, Arrow Australia and NZ.

"By honouring and raising the profile of those companies and some individual endeavours in this important area, Arrow is investing in Australia's technology leadership and in our future."

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